I can’t get to sleep
so I go for a drive
the place is deserted
like no-one’s alive
I feel so invisible
the moonlight so high
wheels makin’ the sound
of a soft lullaby
I’m feeling the chill
of the truth deep inside
letting go of a secret
I can no longer hide
I see that I’m nearing
the edges of town
If I don’t go back soon
I may not turn around
But where would I go
and what would I do
when all that I am
reminds me of you
You see I’ve forgotten
what we had in the past
those dreams that we had
and why they didn’t last
It’s 4 in the morning
and the sky’s getting pink
just driving around
is making me think
I guess life is worth living
and love’s a fine goal
but use your head first
before losing your soul
Like all the others in the box
it was sepia and smelled,
a crumpled, lifted edge was seen
where once it had been held.
She lifted up the photograph
the handsome face now torn,
sandwiched in between two friends
all dressed in army uniform.
She turned the face away from her
and looked on canvas’ back,
a faint inscription written there,
“Yours Forever, Jack.”
I like to look in others’ eyes
to see what I can see
perhaps I view reflections
of what they see in me
We romanticise our love of eyes
call them portals to the soul
imagining that we can tell
what makes each person whole
When I look into my own eyes
a young man’s staring back
full of optimism and innocence
the things that I now lack
And when I stare just long enough
the image disappears
I see me as I am today
complete with all my years
When I was young I could not see
what was right in front of me –
and now that I am old I still can’t
On visiting the zoo one day
my children said to me,
“Why are the animals sad?”
“Why are they kept locked up like this?”
“Is it because they’ve been bad?”
I tried my best to explain
that the birds could not fly away
nor the elephant run around loose
the lion couldn’t hunt down the High Street
but I could see that it was no use.
“Why can’t they just leave them alone
and not stick them in a prison like this?”
“It’s people that are treating them bad!”
Perhaps the wrong ones are behind bars
and it’s people that ought to be sad.
He looks around what does he see
does he believe in you and me
does he know that we are real
the way we think the way we feel.
Perhaps he’ll learn to see through mist
to break down walls that don’t exist
to keep himself from all harms way
and live to love another day.
Stretching fibrous sinus wide
corners of mouth gape
at dribbling dark
I’ve been shopping for salvation
and have tried to buy the means
to stop the desolation that filters into dreams
where I cannot tell the difference
between what is real and what is not
or take the time to count the blessings
that I often haven’t got
I know a little chap who is frightened of gay men
and one must assume that he judges them in haste,
you see he, being rather dim,
thinks that soon they may chase him
but perhaps he should credit them with taste.
Some say that he’s a throwback to the Fifties
when men were men and women glad of that,
for surely then there was no danger
that by simply talking to a stranger
one might end up being invited to his flat.
But in today’s world we can sense his isolation
even though we recognise that he’s sincere,
it can’t be easy when one finds
one must compete with open minds
little wonder then the fellow’s feeling queer!
Each day I unravel
like being unborn
spots of light shine through me until
I am no longer here
Look at the valleys and the gardens beyond
the fish in the loch and the small garden pond
look at the time just wasting away
the clatter and chatter that makes up our day
look at the people don’t they realise
if they just stepped outside it could open their eyes
look to the future now it can begin
like starting afresh or a life coloured-in.
Lilac petals on a flower
drifting to and fro –
oblivious to where
the wind will next-time blow.
Walking here’s a joyful
but solitary pursuit –
burnished leaves, strewn around
burning logs mix with cold night air –
a gentle season closing,
Winter almost here.
I bought myself fresh air today
packaged in a tin,
I never meant to buy it
Just bought it on a whim.
But it might be very useful
when I’m walking up a hill,
running for a bus one day
or perhaps when I’ve been ill.
And anyway years from now
with pollutants raining death
I’ll open up my little tin
and take my last fresh breath.
Mary had a little lamb –
So affectionate was he,
’til Daddy cut his throat
and had him for his tea.
Oh well, thought little Mary,
a goat I could pet too,
But Daddy chopped him up as well
and put him in his stew.
Then she had a pony –
a proper little winner,
‘cept Daddy turned his insides out
and cooked them for his dinner.
Next she tried a little cat –
she loved to hear it purr,
Daddy put it in his soup as stock –
well, what else would it be for.
At last, she thought, I’ll have a dog –
they say it’s man’s best friend,
and Daddy really loved the beast –
tasty to the end.
Mary gave up having pets that night
and shot her awful Dad,
who, with careful seasoning,
tasted not too bad.
If when stepping out one night
a shooting star you see
try not to be too alarmed
as it might just be me.
I don’t believe in hell below
where we go in deaths release
or that growing up a saintly sort
should let us rest in peace.
When we depart these mortal coils
perhaps we leave our trace
as little more than cosmic dust
travelling through space.
So if you should see this fiery tale
shaking debris loose
wave to me a fond farewell
as I head for Uranus.
We used to have a dog
he was a cross dog
a very cross dog.
A cute puppy
he went to sleep
in Dad’s slipper.
he chewed the curtains
ripped the wallpaper
and wrecked the house.
A lovely dog
Dad took him for a walk
we never saw Smokey again.
Death is the punchline that leaves us bereft
the gag we don’t get ’cause we’ve already left.
The last gasp of humour from our maker it seems
is to poison our lives and ruin our dreams.
For Death walks beside us in the shadows so deep
and stares in the window when we’re fast asleep.
As we live through days that we hope will not end
Death’s our companion but never our friend.
Of course we ignore him for each of us know
that it’s futile to fight this formidable foe.
But the joke’s on the joker for each day that we gain
by living and loving we drive Death insane.
A hazy, halo moon waits for us over the next hill
shining in the gloom – is this a beacon or a ghost?
I keep Sam on his lead as I tread our usual route
up the cobbled street beside the dark still water.
There are few reflections across the opposite shore
just the outstretched fingers of thrashing reeds.
We listen intently to the knock-knocking of the little boats
as they bounce against the harbour wall.
My eyes strain to see McGhee’s cottage with its all-night glow
as Sam and I climb the pathway towards home.
Today I woke up to the sounds of birds migrating.
Perhaps they were discussing their winter schedule,
Or maybe they were arguing with their Sat-Nav.
Standing, flat-footed, on the cold floor boards
I peeked at them as they moved across the sky
Silouetted against a primary-coloured backdrop.
I let the slats go and sloped back to my warm bed
and thought of the journey they were making
and then it occurred to me, they had no choice –
they took flight to ensure their survival.
We cannot fly.
I open my eyes and gaze along the Street, it looks so familiar,
Suppose I could have dreamt about it or something,
Lined with green fields and houses, short and angular,
At it’s farthest point the Street dissolves, like ice melting.
is a killer when you are small
is the enemy in your teens
is a stranger through middle years
is inspirational in seniors
is solemn and despairing
is cathartic and healing
is and always will be
Sins are like bad movies
that we replay in our head,
we may recall the images
but rarely what was said.
Perhaps we never saw the film
but thought we might have done,
so habitual our failures
seem to have become.
Scenes like these repeatedely
show as extracts from our past,
ensuring we will not forget
the times we are miscast.
Steps taken lightly,
Resonate with sound,
Against adamantine walls,
Then fall as whispers to the ground.
The news, when it came, took the wind from us,
Looking down, we stared at our unsteady legs,
As we sailed through the topic of cancer.
Once we were safely below decks we admitted it,
Here, was no longer just a dot on the horizon,
A place where rocks could still be avoided.
So we bunked down and waited for the storm to brew,
But, strangely, all was calm instead,
As, serenely, we planned for our journey ahead.
Some days I while away the time
by trying to recall all the names
of every person I have ever known.
But memory seems to favour me:
its inconsistencies sort out
those I care to recall and those I don’t .
Imagine if I could remember
everyone I had ever known:
leaving no time to while away at all.
There’s many things I cannot do,
Some are false – some are true.
I cannot build a rocket car,
nor with these legs walk too far.
I can’t recall important dates,
nor make a list of loves and hates.
I cannot write on sweet birdsong,
nor stand in queues for very long.
I cannot run around and leap,
nor be sad and therefore weep.
I woke up this morning with a fright,
My pillow sodden from tears that I’d cried in my sleep.
I remember now:
It struck me that every person
I know, have ever known, or will ever know in future,
Will one day die.
The thought put the late delivery of
“How to Overcome Anxiety”, from Amazon,
In a quiet moment I stand, legs apart and knees slightly bent,
self-consciously trying to imagine that I am at peace.
My arms droop before me and my hands form a clasp,
rotating my wrists I raise both arms towards the sky
lifting an imaginary ball into the void above.
My mind, though ostensibly “at one”, counts the few seconds
until I repeat the pattern with ever-depleting energy.
Imagine, if you will, that fish could speak
then, you say, they might teach us something.
But would they?
I’d wager that they too would be selfish and mean,
protective of their domain,
their rightful place in the scheme of things
and what belongs to them.
I begin to wonder about my first and last dreams
will they be similar to others I’ve had –
the creeping darkness
the rush of air as I helplessly plummet
a sudden hard landing
that leads to an unexpected warm embrace
and the final acceptance of peace.
How do I compare a dream I can’t recall
with one yet to come
and destined never to be remembered.
Sandra’s skin began to tingle
in the chilling breeze of gloom
as the cold grey line of darkness
quickly raced across the room.
Bent doubly sharply-pained
within her ever closing womb
coiled in bed life now dead
the visitor not coming.
Sometimes I let my paper flop
to see if she’s stopped talking yet,
I catch the odd word here and there:
Gas Bill, Shopping, Vet.
I reckon I’ve got used to her
and likely her to me,
Sometimes she seems invisible
I wonder if she sees me.
Don’t suppose it matters much
if we listen or we don’t,
we always make a promise to
but we know ourselves we won’t.
There’s no need for some big pretense
we stay together for we know
really when all’s said and done
we’ve nowhere else to go.
In her eyes he saw the shape of the harp –
playing soft and sweet and low
with a sadness that melted his heart
He thought of the valleys of his youth –
the grass weeping under an emerald sky
and of the love that still lay within
Ice water rose from the depths of him –
coursing down the deep ravines of his face
from eyes not open until this moment